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Using Events to “Speak Easy” With Your Audience

One of the things I’m most proud of in my career is the development of an annual event for the DuBard School for Language Disorders called the DuBard School Speakeasy. 2016 will mark the fourth year for the event, which has grown exponentially each year.

Today, I had the opportunity to present to my peers at the PRAM State Conference about this event and overall tips and tools for developing and successfully implementing events at their own organizations.

For those who attended the Cathead Vodka session instead (yeah, I would have been there too!), or just want some general info . . .

Here are a few takeaways from our hour session:

  • Your event isn’t about your organization, it’s about your customers.
    • What do they want? Why do they want to attend? Will it strengthen your relationship? Will it hurt other relationships?
    • Most importantly, how can you leverage this event to better connect with your audience?
  • Picking a date is never easy.
    • Don’t just check your local calendars, look across the state and beyond for big events that may take your target market away from you.
  • We all know location is important.
    • Take into account all internal and external factors, such as the people you’ll be working with and what they’ll provide for you vs. what you’ll have to bring in.
    • Get down to the nitty gritty — bathrooms, clean-up and other things that aren’t always top of mind.
  • Is someone else locally already hosting an event like yours?
    • Then don’t do it. Try to think outside the box. Look nationally and internationally for ideas if you’re stumped.
  • Tips and tools:
    • Use your extended network to pull together an event planning team. Make sure they’re diverse, and that you encourage honest opinions and feedback.
    • Start creating your event tools IMMEDIATELY. These are your checklists, budgets, timeline, contacts and ideas.
    • Create setup and breakdown checklists for your volunteers.
    • Always have a “Plan B” for your vital elements.
    • Promote. Promote. Promote. Partnerships will help with this.
  • THINK:
    • What can you do to make your event stand out?
    • What can you offer guests that no one else can?
    • How can you make a difference for your organization with an event?

And now, I get to play Oprah.

YOU get a spreadsheet, and YOU get a spreadsheet, and YOU get a spreadsheet — Everyone gets a spreadsheet!

Really, though, here are a few templates and examples to help you get started on getting organized for your next event.

Note: These documents will only be available for download for the month of April.

Please add your recommendations and tips for creating successful events for your organization!